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DNA used to identify Owen County woman found dead in 1988

Thirty years after her body was found alongside a rural road, Kentucky State Police have identified Linda Bennett as the victim of a 1988 homicide.

OWENTON, Ky. — Kentucky State Police have identified a "Jane Doe" in Owen County using new technology more than 30 years after her body was discovered.

WHAS11 originally reported on the woman's unsolved case back in 2018. 

Now KSP's Forensic Lab have partnered with Othram Inc. to use advanced DNA testing to identify Linda Bennett as the victim of the 1988 homicide.


In May 1988, authorities say a couple on a walk found Bennett's body lying along a roadside in rural Owen County. Detectives determined her death a homicide, however they couldn't identify her.

Her fingerprints were compared to others in databases and police did multiple forensic facial reconstructions, but there was never a match.

Bennett's family reported her missing to police in Columbus, Ohio in June 1988. The family didn't live in the same state as her and had limited contact.

It wasn't until this year that new information led authorities to find Bennett's son, who provided police with a DNA sample. The sample made a match to Bennett, positively confirming her identity.

KSP Post 5 Detective Paul Johnson credits the breakthrough in the unsolved case to advancements in technology and scientific testing.

BEYOND BARDSTOWN: Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the work WHAS11's UNSOLVED team put into bringing Jane Doe's story to life.

"I express my heartfelt condolences to the family of Ms. Bennett and hope that knowing her whereabouts helps them to rest easier," he said.

Multiple agencies worked to solve the missing woman's identity including KSP, Othram, and the Kentucky Attorney General's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) team.

"It takes professionals from all disciplines and agencies working together to bring cases like this to fruition," KSP SAKI Detective Janet Barnett.

If you have any information regarding a criminal case, KSP asks that you contact your local KSP Post or dial the tip line at 1-800-222-5555.

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